For most of us, our world has temporarily shrunk to the four walls around us, and the streets and roads of our locality. As someone who loves to walk - on the beach, up a mountain, through the woods – I feel the loss of this freedom. I spoke to a good friend yesterday who lives in a cottage in rural Sligo. She can no longer visit the sea to swim and has taken to submerging herself in a container of icy water instead. It’s a poor substitute but it’s keeping her sane.I find my 2km walk around my neighbourhood is doing the same job for me. Every day, I take my two boys, and we walk the same route. We look at the daffodils and tulips that are popping up on the green. We notice the Dublin mountains in the distance and whether the clouds are covering their peaks. We admire the colourful paintings that children have stuck up in their windows. They bounce a football, rev their scooters and run on empty roads. I marvel at the signs of nature everywhere, even on these suburban streets. We pass their empty school which is eerily silent, and we fall silent too. There is something about walking. Something healing about putting one foot in front of the other and noticing our world around us. Here are some recommended memoirs and travel books on the (sometimes life-changing) power of walking.The Salt Path by Raynor WinnIn 2013, Raynor Winn and her husband became homeless. Their home was repossessed by bailiffs after a bad financial investment. At the same time, Raynor’s husband, Moth, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Armed with a handful of cash, a tent, and 2 cheap sleeping bags, the couple in their fifties, decided to walk the South West coast path in England. They walked 630 miles from Somerset to Dorset; wild camping and surviving on pot noodles, cups of tea and the odd bag of chips. This inspirational memoir is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of love. Nominated for the Costa book awards in 2019.Wild by Cheryl StrayedIn 1995, following the death of her mother and the breakdown of her marriage, 26-year-old Cheryl Strayed decided to hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail on the West Coast of America. Strayed, starting in the Mojave Desert, hiked 1100 miles through California and Oregon to Washington State. A novice hiker and woefully unprepared, she struggled to make it through the difficult terrain. Along the way, she was forced to face up to her inner ghosts and demons. This bestselling memoir was also adapted into a film of the same name starring Reese Witherspoon in 2014.A Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonIf you feel like reading something funny in these dark days, Bill Bryson is your man. A Walk in the woods recounts the attempts of Bryson and his friend, Stephen Katz, to discover their wild side on the Appalachian Trail; a 2100 mile trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. Katz dreams of a nice meal and a warm bed, while Bryson focuses on staying alive. Their story was also made into a 2015 film of the same name, starring Robert Redford.Walking one step at a time by Erling KaggeFrom the author of “Silence: In the age of noise”; comes this beautiful meditation on walking and what it can do for our bodies and minds. Kagge, a Norwegian explorer and adventurer, was the first person to achieve the Three Poles Challenge – the North Pole, the South Pole and the summit of Everest.Submitted by Lara in Phibsboro Library. Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN.Members of other library authorities will need to access BorrowBox using a different link. Watch our how to video on Borrowbox.
Some more recommended reads on BorrowBox, this time from our colleague Brian.Common literary examples of nonfiction include expository, argumentative, functional, and opinion pieces; essays on art or literature; biographies; memoirs; journalism; and historical, scientific, technical, or economic writings (including electronic ones).The titles listed below are available on BorrowBox; see more on how to access BorrowBox at the bottom of this post.Limmy: Surprisingly Down To Earth and Very Funny. This autobiography from Scottish comedian Brian Limond (aka Limmy) is an extremely candid, hilarious look at his life, dealing with his adolescence in working class Glasgow, along with issues such as mental health, drug use, initial success and the peaks and troughs of life as a comedian. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. Part memoir, part training log, celebrated writer Haruki Murukami documents his training for the 2005 New York City Marathon, while reminiscing on his memories of writing and athletics.What I loved about this book is how Murukami successfully interconnects both the worlds of writing and athletics and vividly evokes the feelings and experiences that both these world can bring to us. David Bowie: The Last Interview and Other Conversations by Melville House/David Bowie. This collection of interviews with David Bowie (including his last) discusses everything from the creative process, and musical influences, to his spirituality, drug use and sexuality. The book gives frank and personal insights into how Bowie changed creatively and personally over a five-decade period. If you’re a huge Bowie fan, like me, or just have a passing interest, this is an essential read.Accessing BorrowBoxWatch our how-to video on Borrowbox. Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN.Members of other library authorities will need to access BorrowBox using a different link.
Our colleague Anne-Marie has some reading recommendations for you on the Irish War of Independence.The War of Independende was fought by the Irish Republican Army against the British forces between 1919 and 1921 when the fighting stopped while a peace treaty was worked out.The titles listed below are available on BorrowBox; see more on how to access BorrowBox at the bottom of this post.The Irish War of Independence by Michael HopkinsonHopkinson’s book on the Irish War of Independence is a concise and detailed account of the period. He offers an excellent breakdown of the conflict, including an analysis of how the war began and he provides an essential insight into the last years of the British administration in Ireland. He traces the development of the IRA guerrilla campaign in the country including an overview of the intelligence war conducted by Collins and how this penetrated the heart of Dublin Castle and civil service in Ireland. Hopkinson documents the activity of the IRA in the most active counties during the war and he complements this with the added international dimension, including the support provided through American sympathisers of the Republican movement.Overall this book provides an excellent and valuable account of the War of Independence in Ireland.The Irish Civil War: Law, Execution and Atrocity by Seán EnrightSean Enright’s account of law and execution during the civil war shines a new light on this dark period of Irish History. The author draws on military and legal documents to provide an excellent overview of individual cases of robbery, murder and gun possession. Most chapters are short but compact as Enright effectively conveys the chaos of civil war and how the new Irish administration dealt severely with those who continued to pose an armed threat to the nascent state.Enright covers the various military trials and exposes how the rule of law was often subverted by those who were responsible for upholding it. Some executions occurred without any trial at all and the author’s storytelling abilities provide a compelling read in this welcome addition to Irish Civil War historiography.Ireland’s War of Independence 1919-21 The IRA’s Guerrilla Campaign by Lorcan CollinsLorcan Collins’ overview of the Irish War of Independence details all the major events of the period from the beginning of the guerrilla campaign to the various ambushes and counter measures imposed by the British on Ireland during these years. The author captures some of the lesser known events of this period, such as a fireman who helped Republicans during the burning of the Customs House and the prison escapes that occurred often throughout the war.Collins’ book is an accessible account of the period and is a must read for those seeking a good overview of the Irish revolution.Prisoners of War Ballykinlar Internment Camp 1920-1921 by Liam O’ DuibhirIn this book, O’Dubhir traces the life of internees at Ballykinlar Camp from its opening at the height of the War of Independence December 1920 to the releases in 1921. Each chapter provides specific details of the internment experience, ranging from the monotony of camp life to the various activities undertaken by internees in an attempt to occupy their time. The author provides a detailed account of sporting events, art and drama activities and educational classes that occurred during the final year of the conflict. O’Duibhir also relates the internal strife within the camp including cases of ill treatment and the various escape attempts organised from within the camp by the prisoners.This book is a well-rounded account of internment in these troubling times.Accessing BorrowBoxWatch our how-to video on Borrowbox. Check out details of how to access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN.Members of other library authorities will need to access BorrowBox using a different link.
Welcome to the third entry in our blog series 'Lost in the Stacks' - recommendations by Dublin City Libraries staff exploring overlooked gems and helping you find your next read!Our entry today comes from one of our wonderful librarians, Jessica, and looks at some of the best essay collections in our libraries!Essay CollectionsIs there a greater joy than settling comfortably with a beverage of your choice and reading a well-crafted essay?There is a particular form of literary alchemy that takes place in the best essays - the fusion of the personal with social commentary combined with a stylistic elegance. Often offering a unique perspective on a cultural moment or a brief window into another world, a good essay has a habit of staying with you long after the pages have turned and the book is closed.Here is a selection of the very best essay collections for you to enjoy. If you'd like to borrow any of the books discussed below, simply click on the book cover or title to be taken to the reserves page, where you'll need your library card and PIN to request the book.1. Pulphead: dispatches from the other side of America by John Jeremiah SullivanPulphead is a fascinating collection of essays exploring pop culture and subcultures of American life fused with memoir and aspects from the writer’s own life. Written with a gentle wit and probing intelligence, it is hard to resist reading the entire collection in one go.2. Changing my mind: occasional essays by Zadie SmithThis is a fabulous collection of Zadie Smith’s book reviews, film reviews and non-fiction prose. Witty, honest and refreshing, it is a pleasure to dip in and out of.3. Naked by David SedarisDavid Sedaris has cornered the market in humorous memoir based essays. The stories here are sardonic, wry and darkly hilarious with a touch of pathos and just the right amount of hindsight and self-knowledge to balance the comic absurdity.4. Men explain things to me by Rebecca SolnitThe title essay of this book has gained iconic status since it was published but each of the essays in this book are powerful reminders of why we need feminism. Essential reading.5. This is the story of a happy marriage by Ann PatchettAnn Patchett is best known as a novelist but this book collects her earlier non-fiction articles. This is a fabulous collection of personal essays and memoir pieces that explore key moments in her life. Her writing is warm, engaging, and shining through with humour and kindness.
Fiona from Dog's Trust brought her friend Jake the dog to Pearse Street Library on Wednesday, 8th July 2015, where she (Fiona that is, not Jake!) showed the children all they needed to know about looking after a pet.Fiona and Jake are also appearing in Ballymun, Phibsboro', Pembroke, Pearse Street and Raheny during the same week. Check our Events' Listing for details.Above: Jake got a little tired from all the effort at Pearse Street Library. Bless him!We have a wide ranging selection of books and other material on pet care, just some of which you can see in the photo below taken from a recent display in Pearse Street Library. Jake insisted the following list of just some of the titles you can borrow have a heavy emphasis on dogs, his favourite subject (!) (with links to the catalogue):Cats and DogsOwning a Pet DogHow to Look after Your Pet DogLucy the Dog100 Facts on Dogs and PuppiesMy Pet PuppySmall Pet CareYour Ultimate Pet Guide(Click image above to see larger version)
The Dublin Festival of History has just come to a close, after a very successful run. It covered a huge variety of topics, ranging from the Battle of Clontarf to the Spanish Civil War, and hopefully the festival will have whetted your appetite for more exploration of our past. Public libraries offer plenty to read on all of the subjects covered in the festival, and plenty of other historical topics besides. Witches, Spies and Stockholm SyndromeThe medieval period of Ireland is not well known, with very little research available on it, and this book goes a long way in filling the gap. Written in a chatty style, it explores a violent and precarious time, describing the conflict between Gaelic-Irish and Anglo-Norman, where family feuds would easily rival the Hatfields and Mccoys. It encompasses dentistry, transport, the empowerment of the peasantry, the first Irishman to visit China (1320s: who knew!), the Black Death, fire laws, and football. The only issue with this book is the lack of an index, otherwise a great read. Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a DayWritten in the style of a modern travel guide, this accessible and witty book brings to life the expression ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’, covering all aspects of ancient Roman life: where to stay, what to eat, tourist attractions, nightlife, shopping. Very evocative, and proof that history doesn’t have to be dusty and dry. Speaking Ill of the DeadA collection of lectures given by historians, including David Norris, which first aired on RTÉ Radio 1. The premise is simple: each picks a deceased person from Irish history, whose sainted reputation irritates them, and invites us to look at these people from another angle. Termed ‘counter-hagiography’, it’s all done in a refreshing spirit of non-bias and redressing the balance, and covers a range of people from the famous to the obscure. Best quote: ‘Maud Gonne – always the reliable eejit…’ Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives!One of the talks in the festival saw Diarmaid Ferriter discussing counterfactualism with Richard J. Evans. Otherwise known as ‘what-if’, it explores the different roads we could have gone down if such and such an event had played out differently. This book examines possible scenarios for us had World War One never happened: for example, without WWI, Lebow reckons we would have had neither WW2 nor the Holocaust; and that poverty would have been eliminated in the developed world. Balancing this, the American civil rights movement could not have taken place and Rosa Parks would have been firmly kicked off the bus. A very thought-provoking read. Mount Street ClubA local history gem, this is the story of the Mount Street Club, set up as a philanthropic society in the 1930s to combat Dublin’s widespread unemployment of the time. At its peak it had hundreds of members, who were enabled to find dignity through self-sufficiency, gaining international recognition for the club’s ideals. It includes lots of fascinating photos of Dublin from the 30s onwards.
Lou Reed passed away on the 27th of October 2013.He was one of the most influential figures in rock music. His first band The Velvet Underground is probably solely responsible for any "Indie Music" we hear today. However he is most famous for two songs, "Walk on the Wild Side" and Perfect Day". The former was a hit in 1972. A most unusual chart song with sparse arrangement of an infectious backing vocal, two note bass line and spoken styled melody of lyrics about transsexuals and prostitution inspired by characters of the pop artist Andy Warhol's hangout, The Factory. The song surfaced again in 1990 as it's memorable bass line was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest as the backbone of their song "Can I kick it?". The latter was "Perfect Day" (the b side to Walk on the Wild side) which had a resurgence in the film Trainspotting and was released by an all star cast as a charity single in 1997. Both songs were featured on the album Transformer.The Velvet Underground were formed in 1964 and played as the house band in Andy Warhol's Factory. Reed and John Cale were the main composers. Their first Album The Velvet Underground and Nico is so unusual, some tracks sound like Bo Diddley duelling with a violin and other tracks are so achingly beautiful and simple the album is hard to forget. There is no point in me trying to explain it, just listen! It is still one of the most unusual records I have ever heard. When you look back to what was happening in the charts at the time, Nancy and Frank Sinatra, The Doors, the world was not ready for The Velvet Underground.The album only sold 30,000 copies, but as musician Brian Eno said "each one of those people who bought the record started a band".Lou Reed went on to record twenty solo albums after The Velvet Underground disbanded. He died of complications following a liver transplant.His life partner is artist Laurie Anderson.
Christmas Holidays - time to curl up with a book...
I love the long, warm, bright summer evenings - but the long, chilly, dark winter evenings have their charms too, as long as I have something good to read. The girls in my house have stored up some special reads for those lazy days between Christmas and New Year. We've had to banish the chosen books from sight so we're not tempted to start reading immediately - there lies grave danger of no present buying, pudding making, tree trimming or other essential ingredients of Christmas. Daughter Number One is hoarding Caitlin Moran's 'Moranthology' - she enjoyed 'How To Be A Woman' and no doubt we'll all dip into this anthology if we get a chance. Her second choice is another anthology, 'We Have a Good Time, Don't We?' by Maeve Higgins. Having loved Maeve's quirky comedy routines and television appearances (especially 'Fancy Vittles' with her sister Lily Higgins) she is looking forward with mounting pleasure to meeting Maeve again in print. If Maeve's recent columns in the Irish Times as stand-in for Róisín Ingle are any indication, the book should be a great read (I'll be waiting in line to grab it as soon as she puts it down).Daughter Number Two is a history addict and has ordered the O'Brien Press graphic novel 'At War With The Empire' by Gerry Hunt - it will be an historic moment in itself if I can keep it out of her hands until after Christmas. She will also probably re-read 'The Fault In Our Stars' a sad and funny coming of age novel by John Green. In fact, given enough time curled up in her new dinosaur 'onsie' she will probably read her way through John Green's entire back catalogue.Both of them will spend many competitive minutes scanning 'Where's Larry' - Ireland's answer to 'Where's Wally' - to find Larry the Leprechaun at the Cliffs of Moher, Newgrange, the St. Patrick's Day Parade and, my favourite, Puck Fair (who says you have to grow up?)And me? I've squirreled away 'Standing in Another Man's Grave', the new Rebus novel by Ian Rankin - fans don't need an explanation. I might also try 'Brother Grimm' by Craig Russell, as recommended by a fellow blogger on this site - who could resist the joint lure of crime and fairytales? Neither daughter is a crime fiction fan (yet) so I won't have to fight to keep the books to myself - though I reserve the right to steal glances at their choices. Roll on the holidays!All seven of our holiday reading choices are available in Dublin City Public Libraries - though you might have to join a waiting list for the more popular titles (or ask Santa). Ten seems to be the magic number for lists, so I'd love to hear your three suggestions to finish the holiday reading list - go on...tell us - who will you be curling up with this Christmas?
A very important and fascinating book was published this year, "Where Were You? Dublin Youth Culture & Street Style 1950-2000" by Garry O'Neil and Niall McCormack.The book is a compilation of photographs documenting social and fashion scenes in Dublin. What sets this book apart is that there are no staged fashion shoots or celebrities, just amazing photographs of everyday people wearing what was in style and ordinary people with extraordinary style.It's a very intimate account of street culture in Dublin. This feeling of intimacy is directly linked to the way in which the material was sourced. Posters were hung up in cafes, bars and shops around the city asking people to send in photos, rather then all the material being collected in newspaper archives.O'Neil travelled around Dublin meeting people to look through their albums and hear about the scenes that were happening at the time. He also received material from different parts of the globe offered by people who had emigrated. The chapters are organised by decades starting with the 50s and 60s.Each chapter has a very readable preface setting the scene for that era by mentioning clubs,dances, streets and shops that were frequented by young people. They also include quotes from people who were interviewed, here is a very good one from the 50s and 60s "You dressed like your folks or you look like you were dressed by your folks". The pages of photographs also have ticket stubs from gigs, posters and flyers for clubs and really cute adverts from the time.It also documents the violence that sometimes surrounded street culture for example the Boot Boys and Skinheads in the seventies. So from suave suits in the sixties to break dancing, skateboarding and raving in the nineties I would highly recommend buying this book. If you've been stuck out in the suburbs for a while borrow or buy this book and you will remember just how colourful Dublin can be.Another interesting layer to this book is O'Neil's collaborator Niall McCormick who is a great graphic artist based in Dublin. Has designed book covers for O'Brien and Lilliput press. After you have enjoyed "Where Were You?" feast your eyes on Niall's website.